Trails Down Learning Lane – First day of homeschool 2016/2017

So while my two older children waived goodbye to Elijah and I at the start of their new school year, at school, I wondered what our first day of homeschool with our 5year old would be. Our prior three years of homeschool with the older two, taught me that too much worry and fuss is not so desirable in creating a learning environment at home. I had so much fun planning and thinking about the Fun, Filling and Freeing learning and living life, I wanted to encourage at home with Elijah. I did much of the recalibration into homeschool mindset during our summer vacation. I reminded myself of who Elijah is, what he enjoys and makes him come alive, as well as where he is at developmentally.

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I also recalled my favourite homeschool learning reads and other ideas like Reggio Emilia inspired learning.

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I love when creativity and discovery, are founded on solid foundations in learning and character building. I love finding the gems in learning rather than being fixated with a rigid set of outcomes. I want to be as deliberate as I can be with this new school year, but build from a place of refreshing rest and delightful wonder.

I had planned to start off our first day with some playtime while discussing “Obedience”, but as soon as we got home from dropping off the older two at school, Elijah, having spotted a solar system kit on the top shelf, announced that he wanted to begin with that instead. A good indicator of what may become other future well thought plans. Deep breath….and then…go with the flow! Start where he is at!

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I yielded to the rabbit trailing on learning lane, and what emerged was a rich morning of building, painting, reading, discussion and learning about the bigger picture, the solar system that God made. Hands on activities sandwiched with reading and books, and discussion. The key for me was letting go of my plans in order to allow real organic learning to spread its wings. Something I intend to hug like a new  friend.

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Taking rabbit trails is not a waste of time if you can see the learning opportunities along your way. This happened so much during today as shown above with math concept in size and measurement filtering into his science project.

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Aah, the joy of completing something that was his idea. So empowering and affirming, an encouragement to take initiative and the rewards then become his and not the teacher’s. Yes to empowering my kids!

We will be spending a lot of time outdoors for as long us the weather permits. Not only is it beautiful and refreshing to be outdoors, but I think when nature becomes a teacher, it’s like no other. How else do I get to see what captures this curious learner’s attention, and I get to enjoy what he enjoys.

I hope to keep our homeschooling this year as a shared experience of exploring, attending and beholding ideas, and things that are alive, full of life and worth discovering.

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Of course things like Math, and Language Arts will be encouraged, but not in the dry, linear, and worksheet driven practice, but always looking at building from where Elijah is at, what can be made concrete and meaningful. Like counting how many steps there were on this side of the nature centre and concluding that the southern steps where more than those on the eastern side.

I am realistic enough to know that not everyday will look like today but today really captured the sort of natural and joyful learning that I know is possible and will keep me absolutely sane. Otherwise what is the point of homeschooling if it becomes disconnected from what home is all about: love and connection.

 

 

Homeschooling Starts 2014

Our Second year in Homeschooling begins tomorrow.

This is by far one of the hardest and yet potentially rewarding decision of our lives as a family. I am thankful that we are not alone and that there have been many of have gone before and who remain courageous howbeit challenged daily, by living on this unconventional path.

My prayer and my desire is that this year, I will be less concerned with all the measuring sticks, opinions, blogs, ideas, and suggestions that were much of a distraction to me at times. There will be silence in my heart, as I lean not in my own understanding but acknowledge Him daily. I pray that I will be content with my children and our daily lives, that I will be truly tuned into them and our shared learning, and I will be a surrendered and courageous mom who is not afraid of failure, but who daily lives by faith.

Its going to be a good good year.

Saying goodbye to the familiar

Today I said goodbye to the familiar

I said goodbye to a great school; to order, excellence, culture, community, caring and professional teachers, resources, well-thought out and planned system of learning, an environment that has been cultivated with the grace of God and the dedication of amazing godly men and women. A truly great school, that my children will not be at, starting from next year!

Today I said goodbye to a school I have come to love, I am saying goodbye and letting go because we are going to homeschool our children next year.

Setting off on a path unfamiliar and a road that seems paved with sacrifice and perhaps lonely, is really hard for me right now. So much in me is screaming for comfort. Like when rising from sleep on a winter’s morning and all you want to do is stay in bed instead of step out into living life in the cold. We all know that the cold will pass, and that the initial discomfort will subside but the temptation to stay in bed does not simply go away. I love the warmth of community and predictability but I know to stay there will go against that still small voice inside me that beckons and calls for an adventure beyond the comfortable and familiar. Today I realise that to home-school, I need God to keep me warm on the inside with His word and with the comfort of His love.

It is great to partner with a great school in the education of our kids and for us, it will be in the future when the time is right. But for this season that we are in and always, I know that a daily revelation that the God of the heavens and the earth, the Creator, Provider, Sherperd and Help (paraklitos); will be by our side too during the home-schooling years. He is the great Teacher.

Today I admire all the people who have said goodbye to their jobs to start a new venture on their own; those who leave family and friends to another country because there is a dream and a hope burning in their hearts; those who take the step for that audition when they feel afraid, that first date, that tough phone call. Whatever the different situations may be and whatever the outcome; I admire every one, who despite the unknown and unfamiliar, still take the leap and jump!

It is such early days for us as a family, and we will take each day, day by day.  BUT for now it is goodbye to school as I have known it.